Steaming dim sum, char siu, manapua, pork hash, and other freshly made cultural delights, as well as fresh produce, fruits, sweets and baked goods made daily are ready for you to enjoy as you make your way along the narrow, busy sidewalks of Chinatown.

Places to explore include the landmark Oahu Market on N. King Street—pig’s heads, cow tongues and chicken feet are all part of the norm. You’ll marvel at food items that would titillate the likes of Andrew Zimmern, host of Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods.”

Maunakea Marketplace on Maunakea Street has a small indoor food court that’s home to a few vendors offering Thai, Filipino, Korean, Japanese and Singapore fare. Even if you don’t try them, it’s interesting to see what’s available. A few steps from the food court is a place that offers the infamous durian fruit in a smoothie—you’ll have to get one just so you can say you’ve tried it!

Cross N. Hotel Street to the next block and you’ll find very affordable fresh produce and vegetables along an open mall. 

A great variety of small restaurants and eateries cater to cultural cravings, as well as to a more modern palate. Find a comfortable and eclectic mix of old and new that’s attracting a younger generation to the area.

An exploration of Chinatown also offers a glimpse into the past amid historic, ornate buildings, hidden alleys and courtyards. With every step, you’ll come across long-time mom and pop businesses, and eclectic shops crowded with area residents and business folk who make Chinatown what it is.

Enjoy First Friday Honolulu every first Friday of the month 5-9 p.m. Galleries and studios present art exhibits, entertainment and refreshments celebrating artists and their art. More info at

There’s definitely lots to see, do and eat in Chinatown, so take your time and discover things you might never see in your hometown. You can opt to explore the area on your own, but with a guide at the helm, you’ll get a deeper understanding of the area’s history, as well as find out what makes Chinatown tick.

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